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UNRISD “Identity, Power and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” seminars in New Zealand – May 28 - and Nigeria – June 9

22 May 2008



As part of the Identity, Conflict and Cohesion programme, UNRISD is holding a series of seminars entitled “Identity, Power and Rights of the Indigenous Peoples”. UNRISD researchers are organizing these seminars at various venues around the globe in order to secure feedback on the results of their research on this project.

The discussion at the seminars will focus on the disparities of power evident in interactions between governments, international institutions, and indigenous communities and their resulting impact on policy making. Key topics include ways in which to create inclusive consultative platforms in order to engage indigenous peoples in policy decisions, which affect them, and the reorganization of institutions to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples, while not negating the rights of the rest of the population. International organizations, government representatives, academics, NGOs, indigenous peoples’ communities, and the general public will be participating in this discussion.

The first event took place in Bolivia (August 2007), the second in the Philippines (February 2008), and the third in Peru (March 2008). The fourth event will be held in New Zealand and it will be followed by the last event of the series, taking place in Nigeria in June 2008.

The New Zealand seminar will take place at the Northey Lecture Theater (Building 801, Room 204) of the Faculty of Law, Auckland University, in Auckland, on 28 May, from 2 - 5 pm. The results of the research will be given by UNRISD Collaborating Researchers Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis; Jon Altman, Director and Professor at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research of the Australian National University and Megan Davis, Senior Lecturer and the Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. Mark Busse and Veronica Strang of the University of Auckland will lead the presentations and the discussion.

The last seminar will be held in the Lecture Theatre of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, Nigeria, on 9 June at 10am. UNRISD Research Coordinator Terence Gomez will give a general overview over the project, while Ben Naanen, UNRISD Collaborating Researcher and Professor at the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies of the University of Port Harcourt will present the results of his case study research on Nigeria. Ambassador Arthur Mbanefo, former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the UN, will be the Chairman, while the discussion will be lead by Osita Agbu, Associate Research Professor at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

UNRISD seeks to procure feedback and insight from the people affected by the issues addressed in the research. The purpose of these worldwide seminars is to better understand the power relations in situations affecting indigenous peoples, and to engage all actors and stakeholders in identifying a more equitable form of decision-making.